Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Wickedness of a Life Unlived

“It is rarely counted as evil when we live in neutral. At worst a passive life is only pitied, yet God counts it as a tragedy when we choose to simply watch life rather than live it. Jesus described as wicked the person who leaves his talent unused.” ~ Erwin McManus, Seizing Your Divine Moment

The word wickedness brings to mind images of terrible sin: murder, rape, sexual perversion, drugs, and child abuse. We have no problem calling these sins wicked. Wicked is a word we reserve for the worst type of behavior. We surely wouldn’t describe the sin which plagues our lives as wicked. Things like gossip, lying, stealing, lust, and jealousy are nothing more than mistakes and vices for us.

May I suggest (and since it is Paul's Ponderings I will) that God sees thing differently. God does not reserve the term wicked only for those sins we find the most appalling, but He sees all sins as wicked. This includes misusing the talents and blessings He has given to us.

We might call the mass murderer wicked, but we wouldn’t call the Christian of twenty-five years wicked for not using his/her abilities to advance God’s kingdom. We are happy just to have them live a “moral” life (whatever that might be). God is never content with simple moral living! God expects us to use what He has given us to expand His Kingdom.

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a trip. He called together his servants and gave them money to invest for him while he was gone. He gave five bags of gold to one, two bags of gold to another, and one bag of gold to the last–dividing it in proportion to their abilities–and then left on his trip. The servant who received the five bags of gold began immediately to invest the money and soon doubled it. The servant with two bags of gold also went right to work and doubled the money. But the servant who received the one bag of gold dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money for safekeeping. “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of gold said, `Sir, you gave me five bags of gold to invest, and I have doubled the amount.’ The master was full of praise. `Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ “Next came the servant who had received the two bags of gold, with the report, `Sir, you gave me two bags of gold to invest, and I have doubled the amount.’ The master said, `Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’ “Then the servant with the one bag of gold came and said, `Sir, I know you are a hard man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth and here it is.’ “But the master replied, `You wicked and lazy servant! You think I’m a hard man, do you, harvesting crops I didn’t plant and gathering crops I didn’t cultivate? Well, you should at least have put my money into the bank so I could have some interest. Take the money from this servant and give it to the one with the ten bags of gold. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who are unfaithful, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (Matthew 25:14-30; NLT)

Why was the last servant called wicked? The Master found him wicked because he did not use what the Master entrusted to him. His unwillingness to use his gift was evidence that the servant did not care about the Master's Kingdom. The last servant's lack of action showed the Master that the servant loved his safety more than increasing the holdings of the Master. The moral of the parable is it is just as wicked not to use our gifts, physical or spiritual, to expand God’s Kingdom as it is to sin against the God who loves us so much.

God created us, not only to live moral lives which are pleasing to Him, but to expand His Kingdom. How do we expand God’s Kingdom? By helping other people enter into a relationship with God. When we do not use the gifts (the talents, resources, time) God has given to us to expand His Kingdom we are just like the wicked servant who buried his gift in the ground.

Everything we have God has given to us to bring Him glory. God is not wrong in expecting this from us for He is the Creator and He knows only a life spent loving Him will bring us fulfillment. As we use our blessings to bring people into a love relationship with God we put ourselves in the position to hear: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

1 comment:

theoquest said...

Thanks for sharing these thoughts Paul. Very timely...

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